Part of: Migrations: The Making of America
Rosanne Cash, Creative Partner
Event DurationThe concert will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Late Nights at Zankel Hall
Join us for a pre-concert drink at the Parterre Bar in Zankel Hall before concerts that start at 9 PM or later.
Presented as part of American Byways.
Lead support for Migrations: The Making of America is provided by the Ford Foundation, The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, and Igor Tulchinsky.
Additional support is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation.
Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Karine Polwart is a multi–award-winning songwriter and musician, theater maker, storyteller, essayist, and published writer. She also performs traditional songs and writes for theater, film, animation, and international thematic collaborative projects.
Polwart draws from folk music’s long tradition while keeping pace with the ceaselessly changing times. Her talent for crafting unique, enduring melodies, her gift for saying just enough without overstating her case, and the range and dynamism of her arrangements all come together in music of powerful contemporary relevance. Her songs deal with humanity in all its many guises: There is tenderness, triumph, and sorrow; raised flags of rebellion and independence; and flashes of anger at power abused and misused. Perhaps most frequently, she deals in spare, unsentimental empathy, often with those who have been dealt the least playable hands in the game of life.
A six-time winner at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, her fifth solo album, Traces, was shortlisted for both the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award and BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Album of the Year; The Guardian hailed it as the best international folk-roots release of 2012. Her debut solo album, Faultlines, won Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2005, following six years of touring the world as a traditional Scots singer with Malinky and the Battlefield Band.
In 2016—in association with the Edinburgh International Festival—Polwart wrote, musically directed, and performed Wind Resistance. The script of the show was picked for The Guardian’s Best Books of 2017, and the accompanying album, A Pocket of Wind Resistance, was named Best Album of 2017 by Songlines Magazine and BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, in addition to being nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award.
In 2018, Polwart was named Folk Singer of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; published her first children’s book, A Wee Bird Was Watching; and released a new album, Laws of Motion, which was selected as MOJO’s Folk Album of the Year.
A Montreal-born Grenadian-Canadian, Kaia Kater grew up between two worlds: her family’s deep ties to folk music and the years she spent soaking up Appalachian music in West Virginia. Her old-time banjo-picking skills, deft arrangements, and songwriting abilities have landed her in the spotlight in North America and the UK, garnering critical acclaim from outlets such as NPR, CBC Radio, Rolling Stone, BBC Music, and No Depression.
Kater started her career early, crafting her first EP Old Soul (2013) when she was just out of high school. Since then, she’s gone on to release several more albums, including Sorrow Bound (2015) and Nine Pin (2016). Her second album included hard-hitting songs that touched on social issues like the Black Lives Matter movement (“Rising Down”), and more personal narratives speaking to life and love in the digital age (“Saint Elizabeth”). Nine Pin won a Canadian Folk Music Award and a Stingray Rising Star Award, and sent Kater on an 18-month tour journey from Ireland to Iowa, including stops at the Kennedy Center, Hillside Festival, and London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. For her third album, Grenades (2018), she took a decidedly different direction, choosing to lean into a wider array of sounds and styles in order to convey a wider array of emotions and topics, most notably her paternal ancestry. Grenades has been nominated for a 2019 JUNO Award in the Contemporary Roots Album of the Year category.
One of the country’s preeminent singer-songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums that have earned four Grammy Awards and 11 nominations, as well as 21 top-40 hits, including 11 number-one singles. She is also an author whose four books include the best-selling memoir Composed, which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Oxford American, The Nation, and many more print and online publications.
Cash has partnered in programming collaborations with Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, SFJAZZ, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Library of Congress. She was awarded the SAG/AFTRA Lifetime Achievement Award for Sound Recordings in 2012 and received the 2014 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts. She was a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist in the 2015–2016 season and also served as a 2015 artist-in-residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. That same year, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Cash’s landmark 2009 album, The List, won the Americana Music Album of the Year award. In The River & the Thread—a collaboration with husband, co-writer, producer, and arranger John Leventhal—Cash evoked a kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional, musical, and historic landscape of the American South. The album garnered impressive worldwide acclaim and won three Grammy Awards in 2015.
In addition to regular touring, Cash recently released She Remembers Everything (Blue Note Records), a new album of original songs with Leventhal and Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, Mavis Staples, Neko Case) producing. She is currently writing the lyrics for a musical with Leventhal (music) and John Weidman (book).